As the snow melts, flower buds sprout and reveal signs of life. Just like a flower that thrives on water, Mabil “Mo” Duir’s legacy thrives on the love people have for him.
UAA students hosted a benefit concert at the Student Union cafeteria Friday, which raised over $3,400 for Duir’s family to assist with travel costs from Ethiopia and funeral arrangements. An online fundraising campaign, “Do it for Duir” was launched to collect funds for the family as well.
“I prefer to say, ‘Doing it for Duir’ (opposed to ‘Do it for Duir’), because these actions are not just going to happen once. It’s going to be a constant thing,” criminal justice major Yuko Lofthouse said. “Our goal is to love and care for people because that’s how Mo was.”
Lofthouse also said more than $6,500 total has been raised since Duir’s death through various efforts.
“Mo’s mother hasn’t seen him since he was 5 years old. That’s when he moved to America with the Sudanese community. We’re just trying to make it possible for them to be reunited,” Lofthouse said.
She and business student Max Bullock, both close friends of Duir’s, organized the concert with the help of dozens of volunteer supporters from the UAA and Anchorage communities.
Bullock said Lofthouse was the main force that arranged the event in just a few days.
Ma’o Tosi, founder of the non-profit organization AK Pride, emceed the event. He set up concert entertainment by students in his programs and the community at large, including local music group the R & R Band. The Anchorage Sudanese Youth Organization also provided entertainment.
Audri Pleas, KRUA 88.1 FM station manager, deejayed while youth sang songs and recited poems, something Duir appreciated during his life.
“It’s sad that Mo’s gone, but all we can do is smile for him because that’s what he’d want,” Duir’s cousin, Nyanchiew Bichock, said.
Live reggae music blared as people danced and rejoiced. People smiled as they celebrated the legacy Duir left behind. Posters of Duir’s smiling face were all around the building.
Bullock said Dewain Lee, dean of students and associate vice chancellor, provided the venue and food funding came from UAA student government.
“It shows how much Mo was loved,” Tosi said.
He recalled the first time he met Duir, who approached him about volunteer work. Tosi’s eyes brimmed with tears when he described how Duir touched many lives through constant volunteer work in several programs, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Bullock said Duir always had a hand in everything. The pair had plans to start the “Max and Mo Foundation” for underprivileged kids, something Bullock may continue developing in honor of Duir.
“If it weren’t for Mo, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be as good of a man,” Bullock said.
Ashley Gaines, psychology major and Black Student Union president, recited a poem, “Brother of the Motherland,” that she wrote for Duir, her best friend and “brother.” She was inspired by the passion Duir had for his homeland, Sudan, where he wanted to eventually serve as president.
Youth from the Sudanese dance group “S-cubed: South Sudanese Sisters” performed, honoring the pride Duir had for his home country.
After the concert, Duir’s family members embraced concert attendees and thanked each of them for honoring Duir.
“Mo was my nephew, my little brother. Until the time he passed away, he always smiled,” Duir’s aunt, Nyopak Kek, said. “Tonight was amazing. Mo’s looking down on us, and he’s smiling, and that’s the best thing that anybody can ask for.”
To donate to Duir’s family, visit http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/do-it-for-duir/52627